Note to Divinity: After writing my rant I went on over to read your happenings and saw the pics from “Guys and Dolls”. Please note I’m not accusing you of being a staker or anything with this rant - I would have waited around to see Ewan too, but I wouldn’t ask him what colour his underwear are or anything.
We are in a real-time information age - when something happens, we can be instantly aware, thanks to the internet and cable television. So when Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes got engaged on top of the Eiffel Tower last week, everyone knew, likely before she got the chance to tell her mom. When Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt share a glance, we can read all about it on cnn.com, along with Jennifer Aniston’s immediate breakdown caused by it. But I’ve gotta ask…. do we care? I’ll be honest in saying I read the gossip as much as the average person, but I don’t think I’m taken in by it.
I have two qualms about the sport of celebrity-watching. My first is that I don’t think these people are worthy of the attention the media gives them. Most have risen to fame because of their acting and/or singing and/or athletic abilities… but what have they done that actually makes a difference? I know most celebrities have causes that mean “something” to them, and those that are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts deserve recognition for it. But does a great actor/actress/singer mean more to the world than a great teacher/researcher/engineer/scientist? What about a great humanitarian or animal rights activist? Celebrities are more-or-less the same as you or me. Granted, they have more money and can be a little kookier (hey you, Michael Jackson - yeah, you’re kooky), but they don’t have super powers. They are people.
My second qualm comes from the sentence of the last paragraph. While it must be acknowledged that those (for the most part) in the limelight have chosen their path, is it fair to assume that we have the right to intrude into their lives and know every little detail? Some (like Tom and Katie) want the world to know what’s going on. Others prefer to keep their personal lives private, and I don’t think it’s the right of the media to go beyond “reasonable” journalistic techniques to get the scoop. Chasing, stalking, or T-boning a celebrity’s car are way beyond reasonable. Even the minor celebrities get caught into it - those of you who watch G4’s “Attack of the Show!” (formerly The Screensavers) may know about Kevin and Sarah’s relationship which is apparently no more. Who knows if it really is or isn’t, and if Kevin is or isn’t seeing Amber from TechTV Canada’s “Call for Help”. Is there a need to badger these people via their websites to find out more? No, nor is it right to share your assumptions that the choices they may or may not have made are not the right ones. Do you know these people personally? No? Then leave them alone. Do you think Katie and Tom are a publicity stunt? Well then, let them play it out and when it’s over you can say “I told ya so!”, but why waste the energy speculating and arguing about it right now? Think Angelina and Brad are sleeping together? If they aren’t talking about it in public, does the media need to ask them time and time again?